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The year 2007 marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America. From its tentative start as a small fort on an island in the James River, with scarcely more than 150 inhabitants, Jamestown became a model for the colonization of the New World. Its founders–planters and indentured servants alike–established a formula for immigration and settlement, and laid the foundation for the leapfrog expansion into the hinterland. Because of its unchallenged position in American history, the 400th anniversary of Jamestown is a milestone, and celebrations are planned throughout the year 2007.
For our part as publishers we are offering several books in commemoration of the founding of Jamestown, and the one announced here, Jamestowne Ancestors 1607â€“1699, by noted Virginia genealogist Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis, reveals the names of the very people who established the colony, first under the auspices of the Virginia Company of London and then under King James I and the later Stuart kings of England.
Thus Jamestowne Ancestors is a list of approximately 1,000 persons who are known to have owned land or resided on Jamestown Island between 1607 and 1699. They are listed here alphabetically along with their known dates of residence in Jamestown, their official position in the colony (landowner, burgess, etc.), and their place of origin or county of residence. In addition, the book contains details concerning the settlement of the island, a brief history of Jamestown plantations and hundreds and their evolution into the early counties of Virginia, and pen and ink drawings, together with maps of the fort and city of Jamestown.
The 1608 map of James Fort and the diagram of the site show the original settlement and the progression of present-day archaeological work undertaken there. Other maps show the growth of the colony beyond Jamestown Island throughout the seventeenth century, first as shires, then as plantations and hundreds. From this you can determine the areas where the early settlers selected their home sites and plantations. Together with other facts assembled here, this information can be used as a starting point in establishing eligibility for membership in a number of hereditary societies that require proof of descent from an early Virginia ancestor.